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BORN TO BE WILD

S

pice up your sun, sea and sand time with the thrill of “kitesurfing”, the latest in extreme sports. This surface water sport that uses wind power to pull a rider through the water on a small surfboard, “kitesurfing”, definitely offers an adrenaline rush for thrill seekers. Like riding a Harley, this adventurous water sport will have you feeling the freedom of the wind blowing in your face. (Photo: Frank Perolli)

If you are born to be wild, chances are you have wanted to find out what all the “kitesurfing” buzz is about. A hybrid sport of both kiting and surfing, this new activity is available in several water recreation areas on the island. By harnessing the power of the wind and ocean, your board can reach top speeds while you are pulled across the waves on your surfboard. Says neophyte kitesurfer Gordon Perolli; “Kitesurfing is a bit like sailing or windsurfing, in that you use the kite to tack out and back at jet-ski speeds.”

Riding the waves

On any given day, when the wind is blowing hard enough to lift your kite, you might find that golf instructors, lawyers, real estate agents and restaurateurs have left their offices early to catch the wind. These are the people who have discovered the great sense of freedom that comes with kitesurfing, a feeling that can only be compared to that of a motorcycle ride on the open road.

Gordon, who hails from Canada, discovered a group of diehard kitesurfers at Bounty Bay in Falmouth one Sunday afternoon and decided to try the sport after watching instructor Andrew Davis teach novice kitesurfers. Says Gordon; “If you watch Andrew for about 10 minutes, you want to try kitesurfing for yourself. It combines sun, sand and sea into one sport and is not limited to the young, but doable for the young at heart – like my dad!”

A Jamaican kitesurfer who is working to introduce his sport to as many people as possible, Andrew is a sponsored and International Kiteboarding Organization (IKO) certified instructor. A kitesurfer for more than 6 years, Andrew teaches a very thorough IKO course, instructing beginners in proper technique.

Students start with a dry land session, which includes safety and theory on how to fly a kite.

Explains Andrew; “30 minutes into the lesson you are standing on the beach learning to master a ‘figure 8’ with a two string training kite. It is very important that you learn to master the two string kite and learn all the necessary kite moves.” Once that goal is accomplished, you ‘graduate’ to a four string kite, with which you will practice on the beach before you learn how to maneuver the kite and make it pull your surfboard through the water. Says the IKO instructor; “It is very important that you understand and master the basics and you learn how to properly launch the kite, while both you and the kite are in the water, because it could be a long swim back to shore.”

Depending on how quickly you catch on, you need anywhere from 3 to 5 lessons before the surfing fun really begins. Says Gordon about his first kitesurfing adventure; “It was a fantastic experience, which I would recommend to anyone who likes watersports. I look forward to coming back to Jamaica, so I can take more kitesurfing lessons.” (Photo: Frank Perolli)

The good news is that you can kitesurf anywhere in the world, where there is water and wind. In fact, some crazy northerners are now snow-surfing, so after you learn to kitesurf in the sea, you can still practice what you learned when you go back home. However, you might want to bundle up a little.

For information on how, when and where you can learn to kite surf, please contact Andrew Davis at 397-3232 or email him at daviskiter@gmail.com. And remember if it is windy, it may take a while for him to answer!

JAMAICA TOURIST 12

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